Suicide

During the last presidential election, many lower- and middle-class white Americans were drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But have the resulting policies actually placed those very Americans at a greater risk of sickness and death?


Melinda Shelton / Flickr

The new school year doesn't begin in Idaho for another few weeks, but hundreds of school administrators from across the Gem State will be hitting the books this week at the annual conference of the Idaho Association of School Administrators in Boise.

The Mountain West has disproportionately high rates of depressive disorders and suicide. Researchers are trying to find out why. Turns out, the mountains themselves might have something to do with it. 

Flickr Creative Commons, Matthew Rice

In the past few years, suicide rates for firefighters have been climbing. The government doesn’t track employee deaths that happen off duty, but the firefighting community has felt the trend more in recent years.

 

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

Public health researchers across the U.S. are eager to find possible solutions to gun violence. Gun ownership data helps researchers study how guns are used in various crimes and could reveal opportunities for preventing firearm-related deaths. But there is no federal registration requirement for guns. And without concrete numbers of gun ownership, how can researchers pin down the problem?

The answer: They use alternative measurements to get a handle on the data.

Rates of youth suicide are higher in states with high gun ownership, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers studied 10 years of teenage suicide rates and found that gun ownership “is a factor that really is highly predictive for what the youth suicide rate is going to be,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health and one of the paper’s authors.

The Mountain West has some of the highest teen suicide rates in the country. A new report out of the region looks at what conditions contribute to the high rate of youth suicide. 

This year, high-profile incidents like the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade as well as clusters of suicides among young people in communities all over the country have served as a reminder that suicide is a growing public health issue in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that the U.S. life expectancy continues to decline. This trend is driven in part by an increase is drug overdoses and suicide. The Mountain West is especially vulnerable when it comes to suicide.

Monday was World Suicide Prevention Day. Here in the Mountain West, we have some of the highest suicide rates in the country.

Idaho Matters examines trends in suicide rates among America's senior population. Our guest, Ron Larsen, from Optum Idaho, looks at the impact here in the Gem State. 

For people in crisis, the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is always accessible via phone or text at 208-398-4357.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

The House just passed a bill to create a 9-1-1 type service nationwide for suicide prevention. This change could be especially important for our region, which has some of the highest suicide rates in the country.

Talking About Suicide

Jun 11, 2018
CNN

America saw the passing of two cultural icons by suicide and on Monday's Idaho Matters we look at how to start the discussion about suicide and resources to turn to with St. Joseph's counselor Christy Porter.

On The Monday, June 11, 2018 Edition Of Idaho Matters:

Jun 8, 2018

  • Talking about suicide.
  • Breakthroughs in breast cancer research.
  • Enjoying summer wines.

Go Inside The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline

Sep 28, 2015
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The call center at the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline could be a room in any number of businesses. There are four desks, each with a computer and a phone. But the overhead fluorescents are off and the soft light from a few lamps makes it feel more like a therapist’s office. A woman is talking on the phone to someone who says a friend is posting suicidal thoughts on Facebook.

phone, office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline has received one of its largest grants to date. The nonprofit has been awarded $100,000 from the Idaho Division of Veteran’s Services. The hotline, which started almost three years ago, has grown to a 24/7 service for people dealing with a variety of mental health issues – including suicide.

telephone, buttons, hotline
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If you need help, you can contact the hotline by dialing 1-800-273-TALK.

When people in crisis dial the Idaho Suicide Hotline, starting Wednesday, they'll reach someone close to home. The service is marking its second anniversary by expanding to 24-7 coverage.

telephone, buttons, hotline
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Since the end of October, Idaho's Suicide Prevention hotline has fielded more than 800 calls. Now, the year-old hotline is expanding its hours of operation and may soon receive national accreditation.

The suicide prevention hotline continues to see an upward trend in the number of people calling for support. Currently, volunteers from Idaho answer the phone from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Outside those hours, all calls to 1-800-273-TALK are answered by people out of state.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Dental care for low-income adults.  Help for physical and mental disabilities.  Expanding Idaho’s Medicaid.  Those were some of the issues that came up during a public hearing Friday during a joint meeting of the Legislature’s Health and Welfare Committees.